Yesterday, the European Commission adopted the main Horizon Europe Work Programme for 2021-2022 and consequently published the final version on the Funding & Tenders Portal.
This paves the way for the launch of the first calls for proposals worth €14.7 billion, with many expected to open at the end of this, or early next week. It is important to check deadlines as some have been amended from what was available in draft Work Programme parts that UKRO made available to subscribers in order to ensure that there is a period of at least three months between the opening of a call and the deadline.
There are dedicated Work Programmes for each part of the Horizon Europe Pillars, including the Clusters and the new Missions. Separate annual Work Programmes, adopted earlier this year, are available for the European Research Council (ERC) and the European Innovation Council (EIC).
What will be funded under the first Work Programme?
R&I investments planned under the first Work Programme will help accelerate the green and digital transitions, as well as contribute to sustainable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and to EU resilience against future crises:
- Around €5.8 billion will be invested in research and innovation to support the European Green Deal and the Union’s commitment to make the EU the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
- €4 billion will be invested in the development of core digital technologies helping to make this decade Europe’s Digital Decade by supporting digitization in areas such as health, media, cultural heritage, creative economy, energy, mobility and food production among others.
- Around €1.9 billion will be directed towards repairing the immediate economic and social damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, as well a making Europe more resilient to the forthcoming challenges by including topics that aim to modernise health systems and contribute to research capacities, in particular for vaccine development.
What is new in the Work Programme?
The main novelty in the Work Programmes for the Clusters under Pillar II are the ‘Destinations’. They provide the policy narrative for the calls for proposals and other actions included in the individual Work Programme parts – the text of each Destination reflects the Expected Impacts set out in the first Horizon Europe Strategic Plan (2021-2024).
Another major novelty are the Horizon Europe Missions – five sets of actions to achieve bold, inspirational and measurable goals within a set timeframe. Although the Missions will be primarily implemented through the Clusters of Pillar II, they have a dedicated Work Programme.
In line with the new Strategy for International Cooperation in Research & Innovation that underpins the international dimension of Horizon Europe, the calls for collaborative projects will be characterised by general openness and international cooperation with non-EU partners will be strongly encouraged. The Work Programme also includes a number of targeted actions with key non-EU partners, including the first ever transversal ‘Africa Initiative‘, which is a collection of around 40 topics worth more than €300 million that focus specifically on supporting collaboration with African countries.
As a novelty in Horizon Europe, to balance out the general openness of the calls and to protect the Union’s strategic assets, interests, autonomy or security, the Commission introduced new restrictions on participation of organisations from certain countries, which UKRO had previously reported on. There are several updates planned to the Work Programme, in particular in the autumn, to clarify the eligibility conditions for topics that were under discussion in Cluster 4 ‘ Digital, Industry and Space‘ where the above-mentioned restrictions apply.
UKRO is currently updating its factsheets covering the most important aspects of Horizon Europe. These will be released over the coming days.